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How to Write

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  17 reviews
First published in 1931, this book contains Gertrude Stein’s thoughts about the craft of writing. It is written in her usual experimental style, yet it is not difficult to understand, and even traditionalists will find that it has many things to say to them.
Her experimental style includes such elements as disconnectedness, a love of refrain and rhyme, a search for rhythm a
Paperback, 414 pages
Published June 1st 1975 by Dover Publications (first published 1931)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Oct 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
As though Stein could not possibly outline how it is that one writes, she instead gives us seemingly infinite combinations of words to demonstrate just how it is that one might write, or how it is that she might write, if writing were more, perhaps, like painting or like taking a long walk down streets that are well-appointed in either crowds or scenery. You won't find any descriptions here--of anything, in particular or in general--but you will find, if you can suspend any craving you might hav ...more
RWin Gulag
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Many people who like this book still don't know how. ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A mixed bag, a tough row to hoe, all that jazz. Does contain everyone's favorite Steinism: "A sentence is not emotional a paragraph is." ...more
Claire S
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Claire by: A women writer friend
'The Picasso of Words'

I just love this book, with all its masterful whimsy, it's hilarity piled toplingly high. It counteracts all that is wrong with the world, it's willfulness supercedes every other.

Her basic idea, that a word can be assigned a meaning of its own by the writer, independent of how everyone else views that word, delights and intimidates me. I mean, I know you can't *really* write that way in the real world, it would be madness. But sometimes you can *stretch* a word beyond its
Oct 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Sheer linguistical horseplay. Fun, fun, fun stuff.
Hank Stuever
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Getch'yer mind blown, right here, courtesy of Gertrude. ...more
Chrysten Lofton
Sep 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: incomplete-read

Too experimental to have much influence on a postmodern style. Gave me a headache.

There are moments of genuine advice, but they're buried in painfully deformed sentences. Hideous things, drooling as they limp along the page, yowling, perspiring with high fever, rot and sick with nuclear radiation. Bulging eyes, shrunken limbs, purulent wounds. No quality of life left in these words. I'm putting this book down like a rabid dog in the street.

Sorry Gertrude.

- 📚☕♥

Goodreads Official Sta
Seth Kupchick
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to-write
"How to Write" won't teach you how to write but how to think about words, and like Stein said writing isn't about words but imagining. So, why read this book? It will teach you how to write. ...more
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dadaists lunatics people who hate poetry like me
I don't know what to say about this book. It's truly a masterpiece though. A masterpiece of what, though, is the big question. It's a really fun book to read out loud at a party. It's a great book if you like words but don't care much for their meanings or usage. I dunno, I really have no idea what to say about this book except that I love it dearly. Some day I will actually read the whole thing. ...more
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Reading how to write is an incredibly peaceful experience. Thanks Gertrude!
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I found it to be a very intriguing experience to read this book.

It was like meditation: words, passages, pages all washing past - alive for a fleeting moment and then lost again to time.
S.L. Jones
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How to Write - Gertrude Stein

Geography and Plays I wasn't ready to rate, but with How to Write I've grown accustomed.
No doubt Stein is a genius, a genius without a filter. She doesn't choose. She doesn't need to choose but everything can stay, every impulsive sentence is welcome. She could surely cut one tenth of it. But then she would probably have written only one book, and that would be boring.
Working through How to Write was like learning to read all over again - it was annoying and hard wor
Marzia Gherbaz
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Virtually unreadable, managed to get to the end by skipping most of it, through vertical reading. The sound of the words was pleasant but that wasn't enough to make it in any way useful or pleasant. Can't understand how some people rated it 5 stars and defined if funny in any way ...more
Julia Saenz
Jan 24, 2021 rated it did not like it
Can’t finish it won’t finish it seems like gibberish
Nick Miller
Oct 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Didn't help still can't write ...more
Sean Hall
Aug 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
My notes after reading this book - She is Loony Tunes. The flow and sound of words when read aloud (which is important but for some reason, that's all I got out of this book). ...more
I didn't understand the point of this book. ...more
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Gertrude Stein was an American writer who spent most of her life in France, and who became a catalyst in the development of modern art and literature. Her life was marked by two primary relationships, the first with her brother Leo Stein, from 1874-1914, and the second with Alice B. Toklas, from 1907 until Stein's death in 1946. Stein shared her salon at 27 rue de Fleurus, Paris, first with Leo an ...more

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